If you’ve been watching the news lately, chances are you’ll have heard lots about an illness that’s affecting people around the world, called coronavirus.

It’s natural to feel worried about stuff you read in the news. If you’re feeling anxious about coronavirus, talk to a trusted grown-up, like a parent, guardian or teacher about how you’re feeling. You can also find online support on the Open Minds website.

In this article we’ll answer your questions like, what is coronavirus, how is it spread and what can I do


What is coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that affect animals. Occasionally, coronaviruses have been known to move from animals to humans. The coronavirus we’re talking about today is a new virus, which causes an illness called COVID-19.


How did the coronavirus outbreak start?

It’s not completely clear how the outbreak started, but it’s thought it’s likely to have begun in Wuhan, China at a local meat market known to sell wild animal meat.

We still don’t know for sure which animal sparked the outbreak, but it’s thought that the new virus could have originated in bats. Bats weren’t sold at the market, but they may have come into contact with the animals that were.


How is coronavirus spread?

What is coronavirus: boy sneezing into tissue

Because we haven’t encountered this virus before, scientists are still working hard to discover exactly how it spreads. Similar viruses, like colds and flu, spread through water droplets in coughs and sneezes. These droplets can live on surfaces and spread when someone touches them with their hands. People become infected when they then touch their hands to their mouth, nose or eyes.


What are the symptoms of coronavirus?

For the most people, including kids, this coronavirus isn’t dangerous. It will make them feel poorly for a short time, before they make a full recovery. For a few people, like the elderly and people who have long-term health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease or asthma, the risk of becoming very ill is more serious. That’s why these people are making extra efforts to have less face-to-face contact with others at the moment.

That means you might have to change the way you keep in touch with grandparents, friends or family who are vulnerable, for the time-being. For example, how about video calling your grandparents, or sending them a letter? It’s good to keep in touch, but in a way that keeps you and others safe.

Coronavirus symptoms include:

– A fever

– Dry cough

– Tiredness

– Feeling achey

If you feel poorly, tell a trusted adult like a parent, guardian or teacher.


What can I do?

What is coronavirus: girls washing their hands

There are plenty of small, easy things you can do. You probably do some of them already, but at this time, we all just need to be extra sensible and cautious as we go about our daily lives and activities:

Wash your hands more regularly, for at least 20 seconds – that’s about as long as it takes to sing Happy Birthday twice! Dry them with a paper towel and then chuck it in the bin!

– If you can’t wash your hands with soap and water, then use hand-sanitiser.

– Avoid touching your face, especially your eyes, nose and mouth.

– Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Bin the tissue and wash your hands afterwards.

– Try to avoid hand-to-hand contact with others outside of your immediate family. There are all sorts of ingenious ways that people around the world are learning to make contact with each other without touching hands, like ‘footshakes’ instead of handshakes!

– Avoid contact with people who feel unwell, or if you feel poorly, let a trusted adult know.


What are people doing about coronavirus?

Thankfully, there are lots of people like scientists, government officials and medical professionals working extremely hard to learn how to better prevent, control and treat this virus.

Scientists are working with speed to create a vaccine, which will give people protection from the virus. It’s hoped that they’ll have a vaccine ready for trials by the end of 2020.

In the meantime, there are lots of changes being made to help slow the spread of coronavirus. Some of them might feel a bit scary or unusual, but rest assured, they’re being made to keep you and others safe:

– People who feel unwell, and the people they live with, are being asked to self-isolate. This basically means staying at home for 14 days so that you don’t pass the virus on to others. People can’t come to visit you during this time, but you can go outside if you have a private garden or balcony.

– People in some countries or cities are being asked to practise ‘social distancing‘. This basically means keeping your distance from others, avoiding social gatherings like meeting with friends, going to sporting events or gigs. This is to help prevent the virus from passing from person to person.

– Your parents may be asked to work from home. This might mean your family routine changes while they spend more time than usual at home.

– Your school may be closed, meaning that you will be staying at home during the week. Your teacher may set you school work for you to do at home, or even teach classes online.

Cafés, restaurants, events and other public places may be closed.

These changes won’t be around forever, but they are important steps towards slowing the spread of coronavirus.


Should I be worried?

You might feel worried about coronavirus, about how it might affect you, your family and friends, and the changes that we are making to our daily lives at this time. The important thing to remember is that we are all in this together. Talk to your friends and family about your worries and work out how you will support each other during the coming weeks, ensuring you all stay happy and healthy.

What is coronavirus: girl reading

Things you can do:

– Do things that make you happy like drawing, reading, and playing games.

– Have a break from talking or thinking about coronavirus. Keep yourself busy and don’t overcheck the news.

– Don’t believe everything that your friends tell you about coronavirus. Check the facts with a parent or trusted adult.

– Your parents, family and friends might be under more stress than usual, especially if they are working from home, or having to self-isolate, so think about things you can do to cheer them up. Perhaps you could help by tidying the house or writing them a note to brighten up their day?

You can access free online school resources in our Primary Resources section! We cover all of your favourite subjects like Ancient Egypt, rainforests, dinosaurs and space!

Images ⓒ Getty Images: coronavirus structure (1209871896), sneezing boy (1127920667), children handwashing (700709633), girl reading (909239264).

Did you find our coronavirus article helpful? Let us know by leaving a comment below…




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  • Free Activities for Kids at Home – Online Resources

    […] If you want some kid-friendly information about the Coronavirus, take a look at this post from National Geographic Kids. […]

  • SP

    nice to know all tis vital info

  • arnav

    I like this article.

  • melody

    we can stop coronavirus by washing our hand and self isolating for 14 days if you have a bad cough or feeling unwell. LETS DO IT!!!!!!!!!!

  • Harry Daly


  • Real interesting

  • finty

    we need to help our grandma and grandpa to keep them to stay strong

  • ethan


  • GeographyClimbers

    Lets Be Calm And Stay Safe

  • Lucianna

    It was very helpful I know more now I was a bit worried and thanks for the tips

  • jeffrey chen

    very cool

  • bob


  • clear sight


  • this is so long but so good !

  • Little Fox

    Thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you THANK YOU!!!!!!!

  • katie

    this is katie

  • Jacob

    Good info

  • Yenyu.chan

    BEST article I ever knew.

  • Amelia

    so happy good reminder i forgot about it at first brake because i was singing my hart out !!!!!!!!

  • Coco

    Protect yourself!

  • Evadine


  • Poopinickles

    Great job people!

  • Poopinickles

    That was really helpful thank you I will try out a few of those things. And tell my family.

  • Malaya

    Its sad but also anoying because dancing and school is canceled and i had to post pone my birthday!

  • aadit


  • Jordan

    I already know that

  • Keep in contact but not to close!

  • Ojasvi

    It was very informative and helpful ! Now I am confident that we can beat COVID-19 if we follow these simple rules.

  • lily

    Cool thanks for the help!!<3

  • bee


  • Archie

    wow such a good read but we need to take action.

  • roisin gavin

    I think will help a lot of people who are finding hard and scared.

  • Really interesting!

  • Harry


  • Niamh’s bees


  • Maryam daysh

    I miss the school BUT we have to overcome covid19

  • Dance Monkey

    I am scared of the COVID-19 but know I know more about it so I feel a little safer.

  • Catherine


  • Ayleen

    I'm so sad that the coronavirus came here were I live which is the united states please send more things about this virus so we could be safe in our homes

  • fati

    i feel bad for China Iran the US and the UK and every one infeted

  • Alex


  • calm

    it's nice to know that there are facts about COVID19

  • Joy

    I am a parent and grandparent this is so well written Thank You

  • Diamond Dolphin

    I think we should pretend that nothing serious is happening and live life normaly being clean

  • Isla

    Very Interesting!!!!

  • Jing

    Fasinating To Know

  • Frances Duggan


  • Filippo

    Interesting stuff

  • cici


  • Macie

    Great thank you i was wondering what to do because i was so bored

  • Palak

    Quite informative! I hope I will be getting more facts like this.

  • Ben White

    Thanks for this wonderful article - it has helped me understand what is going on.

  • Mohammed hossam.E

    nice information

  • Queen Ace

    Thx 4 the info! I'll make sure to tell the ppl I know about how to stay safe and keep others safe from the corona virus. Let's hope the ppl in Italy and places like that r going to be ok!

  • Australis

    I am much happier now i know about coronavirus

  • Tigger


  • Dominic

    Hope you don’t get coronavirus

  • Jane

    Let's wash our hands to fight corona virus.

  • Gracie

    Isla: There is no cure yet, but the people helping with the virus are working on it. Just wash your hands, eat healthy, and maybe spend some time outside getting some exercise. Hope this helps!

  • Mary

    I Love this . It teaches you basically anything you want to know. Its amazing and really helped me with my life btw great website to have at home and at school.

  • Yuyuyuyu

    I don’t know what’s happening but feel relaxed knowing about the COVIT-19

  • love animals

    we have to work together to stop this virus mostly us kids and adults and maybe take good care of our pets and other creatures to be safe. it will help us and animals

  • Maisie

    Very sad but helpful to keep safe

  • Isla

    Is there a cure?

  • Annalise

    wow this is really cool sad and verry anoying because I have to stay inside waa

  • Dominic

    Please send us more things about the coronavirus to be safe

  • ABsoccermater

    Thanks for all the wanted/interesting information!!! Also I found that information very useful.

  • hyper

    LETS TAKE ACTION!!!!!!!!!

  • Kiosk

    Italy,China,Iran,what happened

  • metallikah

    this is cool but sad how much people died

SA Subs takeover March 2020 MPU

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